Tourism workers wanted
JHTA head says BPO industry, North America benefit from migrating talentMonday, July 26, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James — As the tourism sector rebounds from the standstill caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the industry is now on a recruitment drive to fill the void left by some workers who have since transitioned to different sectors or been lured away to North America.
“...So the hotel industry... we are now looking for workers because a lot of Americans now, they do not want to work in the service industries in America, so they are pulling our best. But we shouldn't be upset. In fact, we should encourage it,” argued Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association President Clifton Reader, who is also the managing director of Moon Palace Jamaica.
“One housekeeper came to me and said the other day, 'Mr Reader I have a little half-finished house to finish, can you give me leave of absence to go abroad and come back?' I said yes, yes, go – one of my best [workers].”
Reader also noted that during the tourism lockdown, a number of its workers had also transitioned to the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
“In fact, Miss [Gloria] Henry is also a big competitor of mine when it comes to my employees. We were checking up on our workers and one of our cooks joined your [Henry's] organisation, working from home, the flexibility of working from home. And she set up her own little cook shop, earning two or three times more than what I could afford to pay. So that person will not come back to work,” he said.
Henry is president of Global Services Association of Jamaica.
Reader was speaking at the official launch of Key Advantage Training and Recruitment Solutions at the Hilton Hotel, Montego Bay, St James, on Saturday.
Key Advantage is a forward-thinking, adaptable training and recruitment organisation.
Speaking ahead of Reader, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett argued that as the sector recovers, some 50,000 tourism workers are now back on the job.
But Reader pointed out that because the cruise sector is not yet reopened, a number of workers are yet to return to work.
“Minister [Bartlett] spoke about the number of people we brought back to work. The tourism industry in total has 175,000 workers from transportation. Many of them are out of work because cruise ship has not started. Many of them are not coming back to the hotel industry, by choice,” he declared.
Founder and CEO of Key Advantage, Ann-Marie Goffe Pryce expressed the goal to become the “leading provider of trained and recruitment solution for targeted sectors”.
“We commence with courses in housekeeping, front office procedures, customer service, and digital skills to name a few, utilising both online and face-to-face platforms, and plans to expand and offer even more courses in the future. Recruitment will also take centre stage, as we intend to be the leading provider of trained human capital for targeted sectors, “ Goffe Pryce said.
Reader, who highlighted that the middle management sector in Jamaica is in crisis, expressed confidence that Key Advantage could provide the training to upgrade workers.
“There is a crisis within the middle management sector in Jamaica, but we have the right material just below them but we have no one to bring them to that level where they can become full departmental managers, where they can become executive manager. This is what I hope your company will be able to do. I am convinced, based on the association of people around you, I am convince you can do it,” Reader remarked.
“The JHTA looks to work with Key Advantage in recruitment, training and development and to prepare the next generation of hospitality employees and managers to provide Jamaica with the best possible resources across critical sectors,” Reader ended.